How software helped commission the St. Joseph 20-MW solar project in record time
Prior to commissioning St. Joseph Solar, a 20-MW, utility-owned and operated solar facility, Infrastructure & Energy Alternatives (IEA) specified real-time power plant curtailment and power factor controls, multi-level inverter monitoring, tracker integration, weather stations monitoring, and RTU data concentration. This type of tightly coupled control system is not new to the utility sector for traditional fossil fuel power generation. For renewables, however, it is typically reserved for much larger transmission-level generators (>50MW).
Cost, complexity, and prohibitive lead-times are typical barriers for smaller distribution projects, but IEA enlisted Solar Operations Solutions’ (Solar-Ops) and its myPV IQ Grid Support power plant control (PPC) solution. The myPV line of modular interconnection, weather station, networking, monitoring, and control products were able to fulfill the project’s technical and budgetary requirements.
“Traditional switchgear and SCADA solutions are made-to-order per project – making them expensive to develop and support,” said Brad Micallef, Managing Director of Solar-Ops. “Delivery takes longer because they are engineered from scratch. In contrast, the myPV brand is designed to serve a broad range of projects using standardized, documented, and supportable products. This approach allows the myPV solutions to provide utility-class integration and control features to smaller renewable projects in a much shorter timeframe and at a project-appropriate price.”
Through a simple ordering process, the modular myPV solutions were specified to address St. Joseph Solar’s specific and complex set of needs. The pre-configured products arrived ready to operate – providing instant visibility of the entire site upon initial energization and expediting the commissioning timeline.
Adam Baker, Solar-Ops’ Director of Product Development said, “For many of our customers, the idea of having reliable, high-resolution data from the earliest commissioning steps to final capacity testing is game-changing. Intelligent commissioning simplifies troubleshooting for equipment manufacturers, engineers, and project managers. We can complete the whole process faster and our customers are able to transition to commercial operation with a high degree of confidence.”
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